Medical Internships in Cape Town

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If you’re considering a career as a nurse, physicians assistant, or doctor, VACorps offers an excellent selection of medical internships in South Africa. As a medical intern in our program, you will be working alongside qualified healthcare professionals at one of community healthcare clinics or hospitals. South Africa faces many serious healthcare issues, including high rates of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis – especially among women and young children. There is a high demand for healthcare in low-income areas of the city and many public hospitals and clinics lack appropriate funding and access to primary care. The overall experience will give you first-hand access to South Africa’s public healthcare system and will teach you a wide-range of skills that you’ll carry with you for a lifetime.

  • Placement in a medical clinic
  • 24/7 On-the-Ground Support
  • Weekly Cultural Excursions
  • Program Housing
  • Weekly Culture Series

Questions & Answers


based on 3 reviews
  • Growth 7.7
  • Support 7.3
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 7.3
  • Safety 8
Showing 1 - 3 of 3
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To say that my experience with VACorps was a positive experience would be a lie. I have traveled extensively in my lifetime, but never struggled more than when I came to South Africa to complete an internship through this company. Before I came, I was told there would be many different avenues by which I would be supported by the staff whether it came to safety, housing, travel accommodations, etc. However, upon arrival, this was not the case. I was told there would be a shuttle service that would transport me to and from my internship in a township each day (very far from where I lived, and quite a dangerous area to travel to alone if you are a foreigner), but upon arrival, I was told they had shut down the shuttle service and that I would have to uber each day to my site with other interns. Due to the timing of arrivals, I was alone many days and had to pay upwards of R300 a day ($27.50) to travel to my internship. Once there, the staff seemed to have no idea who I was or why I as there as if VACorps had never talked to them beforehand. Additionally, there were other interns from other organizations at that site which made shadowing and learning a competitive endeavor. Ultimately, there was never anything for me to do or learn and the doctors did not enjoy having so many interns there getting in the way of things.
If you intern through VACorps, you will find that you are spending a very large sum of money without knowing where that money actually goes. The actual support you receive from the staff is very limited and you are ultimately on your own most of the time. Paying for this program is paying for a community of other interns, which has been a positive of the experience, but that is about it. I sent an email to my coordinators letting them know of my frustrations and never once received a response to the email. I was left scrambling trying to find something to do here for the remainder of my time in Cape Town, and luckily found a private hospital to take me on as a shadow student, but some of my friends were not that lucky.
Coming to South Africa is worth it- I have done and seen the most incredible things during my two months here, but do NOT come here through VACorps. It is not worth the money, the support you receive from the staff once you get here is completely lackluster, and you will most likely have issues with your internship.

How can this program be improved?
There needs to be better communication between VACorps and the sites they send their interns to. The staff also needs to be much more accessible and willing to help interns if their internship is not what they wanted it to be. I have met too many interns (including myself) that wanted to switch internships and were told that the staff would "look into it" but never heard another word about it or was told it was their fault for not working hard enough at the site to enjoy it. There needs to be better group activities that make the price of the experience even close to worth it. The staff also should actually help interns instead of referring them constantly to their website "zendesk" which is not nearly as helpful at helping interns find resources as they think.
Response from VACorps

Dear Ellie,

We are so disappointed to hear that you had an unpleasant experience with us and only wish we could have had the opportunity to address your challenges while you were in-country. Had you communicated your frustrations directly while you were still in Cape Town, we believe the outcome of your program experience would have been much different.

Despite our regularly documented check-ins, you indicated that everything was fine and did not share your internship concerns. Your Program Advisor set up an appointment and accompanied you to the doctor and yet again, you did not share this feedback with us. You also did not mention that you had chosen to stop attending your internship after only 2 days. Had we known, we could have assisted you with rectifying the challenges at your internship site or placed you somewhere entirely new.

The VACorps program has an open-door, 24-7 policy regarding support. We are disappointed you never chose to walk through our door to enlist the support of our accessible, knowledgeable and friendly program staff, who are always eager and willing to help interns find a desirable outcome when encountering challenges of any sort. We cannot assume you are unhappy unless you choose to communicate your feelings.

Again, we are very sorry to hear your experience in South Africa didn't pan out as you had hoped. If you wish to discuss your challenges at greater length, please feel free to reach out to any one of us. Our door remains open.

Best wishes,
The VACorps Team

No, I don't recommend this program
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VACorps -SA

This was an experience of a lifetime! I had the best time in Cape Town. My internship provided me with opportunities I would have otherwise not had without VACorps. I learned more than I could have ever imagined as a medical intern due to the fact that I got hands on experience as an undergrad student. On top of that, the friendships I made were incredible. The staff were always there and wanted us to explore. They helped us plan excursions and even sometimes came with us! I would go back in a heartbeat.

Yes, I recommend this program
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This was a lovely experience working at a Site B clinic in a township outside of Cape Town. My experience here really helped me grow and opened my eyes to what the medical field has to offer, especially in a lower income area. I worked with such an amazing staff of medical professionals and have gained so much knowledge that I will forever cherish. It was definitely an unforgettable experience that I will never forget.

Yes, I recommend this program

About VACorps

The VACorps internship program creates tailored placements in Cape Town, South Africa. We consistently receive rave reviews from program participants, parents and university administrators alike because we devote all our energy to one purpose --...